This is a special article kindly written for us by John Romanelli, MD. It's an interesting look at the James Bond films and some of the similairities. A big thanks to John for sending this in to us!
Ian Fleming made his famous character identifiable by a number – 007. Thus, it would be interesting to take a look at the Bond films by the numbers.
As Die Another Day is in production, in this fortieth year of the cinematic superspy, it becomes interesting to look at parallels in plots and locales. Granted, some of these associations are mere coincidence – many of the settings of the original movies came directly from the words of Fleming. On the other hand, many of the post-Fleming creations bear remarkable similarities to preceding films in the series.
If you start by doubling the number of the film (counting on the Eon-produced films), there are amazing coincidences:
Dr. No (1), and From Russia, With Love (2): the continuation of the Bond vs. SPECTRE angle – Blofeld even speaks of revenge for killing their agent, Dr. No.
From Russia, With Love (2), and Thunderball (4): again, the continuation of the SPECTRE angle. This came after the Goldfinger plot hiatus.
Goldfinger (3), and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (6): the first duplicate locale – major portions of both films are set in Switzerland.
Thunderball (4), and Live and Let Die (8): both films are set in the Caribbean – Bahamas and “San Monique”.
You Only Live Twice (5) and The Spy Who Loved Me (10): the plots are eerily similar – the provoking of war between the superpowers. Coincidence, or lack of original material to base the stories on?
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (6) and For Your Eyes Only (12): The Tracy story. Bond avenges Tracy’s death in the beginning of For Your Eyes Only, killing a bald, wheelchair-bound villain we presume to be Blofeld.
Diamonds Are Forever (7) and A View to A Kill (14): both films are set partially in California.
Live and Let Die (8) and Licence to Kill (16): both are set in the only fictitious locales ever used in the series – San Monique and Isthmus City. Also, David Hedison plays Felix Leiter in both movies. And the scene (LTK) in which Felix is maimed by the shark comes directly from the novel Live and Let Die.
The Man With the Golden Gun (9) and Tomorrow Never Dies (18): both are filmed in Thailand. In fact, the bay in Bond and Wai Lin sailed was near Phuket, where the Man With the Golden Gun was filmed.
So, will Die Another Day employ some parallels from The Spy Who Loved Me? Perhaps – does a former rival agent (XXX, Falco) become an unwitting ally?
There are other interesting parallels in the series as well. As we dissected the number 2, consider the second movie, From Russia, With Love: both Venice and Istanbul were reused as locales, in Moonraker and The World Is Not Enough.
As the number 007 is a prime number, perhaps we should look at the prime numbered movies. Each of the prime numbered movies introduce a unique locale:
From Russia, With Love (2) – Croatia (Zagreb, where Bond meets Red Grant)
Goldfinger (3) – Latin America (the pre-title sequence, although one could argue “Isthmus City” is also Latin America). Also, Kentucky (Florida was reusued in Licence to Kill).
You Only Live Twice (5) – Japan
Diamonds Are Forever (7) – The Netherlands. Also South Africa, where Bond does not travel, but scenes are set.
Moonraker (11) – Brazil – the only use of South America. Also the only foray into outer space…
Octopussy (13) – India
Goldeneye (17) – Russia. Also Monaco (if you don’t count Never Say Never Again).
The World is Not Enough (19) – Azerbaijan.